Gila National Forest releases vehicle-management plan

The areas in pink are within one mile of a road.

By Donna Stevens, Upper Gila Watershed Alliance, 07/01/14
After years of delays, the Gila National Forest finally released its much-anticipated Travel Management Final Environmental Impact Statement and Record of Decision on June 11.
When the decision is implemented in 2015, it will prohibit driving off-road. This in itself is a huge step toward protecting natural resources and is long overdue.

How to help wildlife through the human zone

This bobcat kitten was brought to the Wildlife Center from a backyard.

By Katherine Eagleson, Wildlife Center, Española, 06/30/14

In the United States we have done a pretty good job of saving scenic places. A lot of wildlife lives in those places.

But when a drought lingers year after year and depletes food sources, or a wildfire burns the habitat to dirt, or maybe it’s just time for the youngsters to move out, make a life of their own, spread the gene pool, how do we accommodate wild animals’ need to move?

Badly, that’s how we have done it so far. We have not planned well to give wildlife the corridors they need to move safely between habitats. We have also misled the public by giving the impression that wildlife managers can collect wildlife from backyards and parks and homeowners’ association properties and transport them to some wilderness nirvana.

BLM considers fencing to protect prairie dogs

By Teresa Seamster, 06/3014
A surprise population of Gunnison’s Prairie Dogs living on the Caja del Rio has encouraged a Forest Service biologist and the Northern New Mexico Group to map burrows and ask BLM for protection from off-road vehicles.

When I first heard about the prairie dogs it was in the context of how barren the BLM land was on the Caja and how it looked as if there were no longer prairie dogs out there. Later, I was asked if I could come out and see if there were any Gunnison’s out there.

The result was unexpected.

La Bajada mining decision delayed

Painting of La Bajada by Rio Grande Chapter member Jeff Potter

By Teresa Seamster, Northern New Mexico Group co-chair, 06/30/14
At its June 11 meeting, the Santa Fe Board of County commissioners failed to vote on an application for a basalt mine on La Bajada Mesa, even in the face of nearly 1,000 opponents at the meeting and 250 email comments from Northern New Mexicans Group members and supporters.
Fifty acres of La Bajada Mesa is under threat of the strip mining.The applicant, Rockology LLC, would also use thousands of gallons of potable water daily just to reduce dust at the site.

Norma McCallan: Our Living Treasure

Norma McCallan with, from left, her son Chris, County Commission candidate Henry Roybal and Tom Gorman

By Mona Blaber, Chapter communications coordinator, 06/30/14
Norma McCallan, co-chair of the Northern New Mexico Group and a cornerstone of the Rio Grande Chapter, was honored June 22 as a Santa Fe Living Treasure.

The Santa Fe Living Treasures program, celebrating its 30th anniversary, honors people over 70 who make a difference in the community. Last fall, Norma was also chosen by The Santa Fe New Mexican as one of its annual 10 Who Made a Difference.

Taos County streams look pretty good after Water Sentinels testing

By Eric Patterson, Water Sentinels — Rios de Taos, 06/30/14

Water Sentinels — Rios de Taos has resumed its water-testing season. We started with a training session on May 15 attended by 15 volunteers. Our first round of testing began May 19.

Our results show that Taos County streams are looking good, with only a few trouble spots. We are especially interested in keeping track of the Rio Hondo because of large consatruction projects slated by the new owners of Taos Ski Valley.

Water advocates shut out of dairy talks

Aerial view of dairy in Anthony, N.M.

A version of the following article, written by the Citizens Coalition — Sierra Club Rio Grande Chapter, Amigos Bravos and Socially Responsible Agricultural Project and New Mexico Environmental Law Center — ran in the New Mexico Mercury in June.
Less than four weeks into her governorship, New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez had to be reminded by the New Mexico Supreme Court that “Nobody is above the law.” The reason: the governor had tried to prevent recently approved dairy rules, among other new environmentally protective rules, from going into effect.

Mountainair community opposes CO2 pipeline in New Mexico

Abo Ruins are among the site threatened by the pipeline

By Teresa Seamster, Northern New Mexico Group vice chair. 06/30/14
The sweeping open spaces of Abo and Tenabo west of Mountainair are as ancient and majestic as any in the state. It is hard to imagine this area ever becoming industrial or polluted.
Nonetheless, the proposed 213-mile CO2 Lobos pipeline through New Mexico is about to cut through landscapes like this, dismantling cultural areas and destroying underground vegas forever, unless people act.
The people of Mountainair have been taking action.

Report shows dangers of Four Corners coal ash; plant wants 25 more years

Chaco Wash Four Corners Morgan Lake

By Norma McCallan, Chapter vice chair 06.30.14
The Sierra Club released reports in May on some of the nation’s most dangerous coal-ash sites, including the coal-ash storage at Four Corners Power Plant near Fruitland, N.M.

Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks designated a national monument

Organ Mountains by Mike Groves

By Dustin Chavez-Davis, Our Wild America associate organizing representative 06.30.14

On May 21, President Barack Obama signed a proclamation that designated New Mexico’s Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks as our country’s newest national monument.

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